New Report Details Nursing Home Understaffing


The Long Term Community Care Coalition’s report examined staffing levels at every nursing home in the United States.

A new report by the Long Term Community Care Coalition found that nursing homes are understaffed even as their resident populations shrink. The LTCCC published new data regarding staffing levels at every nursing home in the United States on January 22, 2021, with the goal of helping “the public, news media, and policymakers identify and assess the extent to which nursing homes in their communities provided sufficient staffing to meet basic clinical and quality of life needs.” The data is sourced from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which collects information from nursing homes around the country.

According to the data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, nursing home facilities in the United States experienced understaffing. More specifically, according to the LTCCC, there was an average of “3.43 total care staff hours per resident day (HPRD) and 0.47 RN care staff HPRD.” The LTCCC notes that these averages “fall short of the amount of time needed to ensure that residents receive clinical care,” which a 2001 federal study pegged at 4.10 total care staff HPRD and 0.75 RN HPRD. In addition to the understaffing issues, the LTCC notes that nursing homes in the US have suffered a 12.2% decline in resident population since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Despite receiving billions of dollars in COVID relief aid,” the LTCCC writes, “too many facilities are failing to invest in the staffing required to meet their residents’ needs.”

The LTCCC lists a few other key facts concerning nursing home staffing in Q3 2020, for instance: that total care staff and RN HPRD remained roughly constant from the previous quarter: 3.43 and 0.47 in Q2 2020 as opposed to 3.46 and 0.45 in Q3 2020; that the average nursing home census fell 12.2% since the pandemic began, shrinking from 86.6 in Q4 2019 to 76.0 in Q3 2020, a decline that the LTCCC notes was accompanied by “y a slight increase in total care staff HPRD (1.6%) and a more significant increase in RN HPRD (9.9%) since Q4 2019”; that the top five states for total staffing HPRD were Alaska, Oregon, Hawaii, California, and Vermont; and that the bottom five states for total staffing HPRD were Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and South Dakota. As the LTCCC notes, nursing home facility staffing is “prone to significant fluctuation,” among other reasons because facilities have “very low staffing on weekends and holidays.”

More information on nursing home understaffing in the US, including the LTCCC’s full report on staffing in every state in the US, is available here.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents.  Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.

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